Subject: Re: (xxxx) mojoworld / bloody good idea
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 16:50:28 +0000
From: Simon Wistow 

"Randal L. Schwartz" wrote:

> In what way are they "behind the curve"?

To be honest this is just my own personal peeve so take it with a pinch
of salt ...

The Playstation2 is symptomatic of marketing's all pervasive bullshit.
It is *not* super computer powered. It is not the be all and end all of
games consoles. The games on it are at best better than average but most
are pure, undriven crap. SCEE's marketing machine swung into action and
made wild claims about it being 20 times more powerful than this and
able to do that when in reality it's not *that* good a peice of kit.

Sony originally announced that the specs were 75 million
polygons/second, unlimited streaming texture potential, 48GB/s memory
bandwidth. Then the 75 million  was reduced to 66 million. Peak
Performance. For flat-shaded, identically shaped polygons. Back in
reality PS2 games usually have around 2-3 million. (in contrast Sega
said that the DC could do 3 million although Test Drive: Le Mans
actually pushes 5 million). Now I know it's early days yet but still ...
it's hardly the exponential leap forward that SCEE promised.

The reason for this is down to memory. The PS2 only has 4MB VRAM cache
on its GS graphics processor which severely limits what it can achieve
on screen. While it does have 32MB of main memory and the fairly (not
extremely) powerful Emotion Engine processor *are* capable of producing
in the neighborhood of 10-12 million textured and lit polygons/second,
the poor design of the GS and its small pipeline to main memory restrict
the final number to roughly half of that. So it will probably only ever
reach 5-6 million.

The reason why I love the Dreamcast? It has 8Mb of VRAM *and* the
PowerVR chip it uses can compress and decompress the textures on the fly
*and* it can keep a sort of differential texture which further reduces
space. Hence more textures. Hence better graphics (you can have all the
ploygons you liek but if you can't shift textures round they look like

All Dreamcast games run at 640x480. PS2 runs a 640x240 field- rendered
display which fakes a 640x480 display. Hence bad jaggies.

The PS2 is a *bitch* to develop for. And Sony were so worried that if
they launched any later they'd miss their market that they ship without
any developers tools. Hence the delay in getting any decent games out.

This rush also caused problems because the units were poorly built such
as scart and DVD playback (never top quality in the first place by all
accounts) problems for a start and rattling when you raised them

Sony have also encountered another, unforseen problem. Speculation puts
the cost of each unit at approximatley 500 US dollars (not including
marketing costs at approximatley 50 US dollars a unit apparently). They
retail at just over 300 US dollars I believe. Thus they have to make
about 180 US dollars to break even.

Now as I've said before, the average gamer buys between 3 and 7 games.
So Sony have to make a profit of 25 dollars a game.

And research in Japan has shown that most people seem to be buying their
units as cheap DVD players.

And games developers are getting turned off in droves. Apart from the
machine being difficult to code to developers face uncertainty in the
fact that Sony have been unable to ship units. And only some of these
units have modems so they can't guarantee online play capability. So why
should they bother. Why not just wait for the Xbox or the Gamecube. The
Xbox is even better than the PS2 *and* the games are easily portable to
the PC. Plus you get to extend your skill sets shoudl you ever need to
go into Windows programming. And the backwards compatability thing can
be a curse - who wants to program for a market which is already swamped.
Are people necessarily going to by GT3 if they already have GT2 and GT1
and can play them on the same machine. Plus Sony have already announced
the PS3. So how long are the expecting to support it?

I really hope the PS2 fails dismally because it will be a small victory
in that just because you have adverts done by David Lynch and Trevor
Beattie doesn't mean you can get away with pushing out over hyped shite
in a fancy box.